Joe Willock insists he is “loving every minute” of his time on Tyneside, stating that he may not return to Arsenal when his initial loan deal expires this summer.
The Arsenal loanee has only been a temporary Toon player for 10 days but has already had a huge impact, putting in a gutsy shift on his debut and bagging the opening goal in an all-action display.
Now Willock has spoken to Sky Sports to discuss his stint in the North East so far… is he hinting at staying behind this season?
Here’s what he told Keith Downie:
“I’m here to prove to Newcastle United that I can play every week and affect the games and win games for them.
“I’m not really looking at Arsenal, when that time comes for me to make a decision to go back or not that will come but right now, I’m focused on Newcastle and I’m loving every minute that I’m here.
“I’m here to help the team in any which way they want me to.
“When I came in, I wanted to help the team have that bit of pace in midfield, travel from one box to the other quicker and get it to the front men quicker, and arrive in the box and score goals like I did.
“I feel I can add that to the team and hopefully it continues.
“He (Newcastle boss Steve Bruce) said to me, ‘I know that’s your quality, I know that’s what you love to do, I give you the freedom to go, and don’t worry, there are players behind you that can back you up.’
“When I decided to come here I had a sense of peace, I didn’t ever feel like it was going to be the wrong one (decision). When I came here, everyone was so welcoming.”
“To go back or not”….hardly the words of a man who knows there’s no chance of a permanent move to St James’ Park, and comments that suggest he’s already open to staying?
Even if a permanent move is not an option, perhaps this is a hint at another loan deal next season – something that The Telegraph suggested the day he signed.
Most Toon fans, and Bruce himself, thought we needed to bring in a dynamic midfielder that can get forward into our squad during the window.
After one game, Willock has put himself in a perfect position to be that man, albeit until the end of the campaign.
If things continue to go well there should be no reason why Arsenal wouldn’t allow him to return on loan next season. After all, they would be benefiting from his added game time too in the long run.
Let’s hope Willock can continue to step up to the plate, because we may need his influence more than ever following the devastating injury news about Callum Wilson.